Apricot bounty

4 01 2013

Just over 3 years ago I planted a range of fruit trees in my front yard.  I put in a nectarine, peach and pear, all on dwarf stock, and a full size apricot, cherry and plum.  Amazingly the nectarine and peach produced fruit from the very first summer and I continue to get around 20 mid sized fruits from both, which is pretty good.  The pear has yet to produce fruit but gets hammered by sawfly grubs which may have something to do with it.  I recently found a really good article on controlling them which has helped this year.  Check it out here.

As for the full sized trees, they’ve taken a little longer to become productive.  I got a relatively small amount of apricots and plums last year, probably a couple of kilograms from each, and until this year nothing from the cherry.  I was very pleased with a good couple of kilograms of cherries picked in early December even though the tree is still pretty small.  It has suffered from cherry aphids this year which attack the young growing parts of the tree and cause them to curl and stunt the growth.  Unfortunately I was away for many weekends over spring with volleyball and wasn’t aware of the problem until it was too late and the damage was done.  Next year I’ll be ready for them and get the upper hand early on so am hoping for some good growth and additional cropping the following year.

The plum fruited prolifically this year and it’s branches are drooping under the weight of the fruit even though it’s a couple of weeks away from being ripe.  I estimate I’ll get more than 10 kilograms this year and it has grown well each season and gaining size quickly.

So what about the apricot I hear you ask? Well a couple of days ago whilst sitting in my lounge reading a new cook book I got for Christmas (It’s called Whole Larder Love and is about a guy who decided to grow, hunt and eat his own food, very cool) I saw the tell tale signs of the apricots being ready to pick, birds! With the cherries you have to put netting on the keep the birds away because they’ll start eating them a bit before you want to pick and will strip the tree in no time flat.  With apricots however, I use the birds to tell me when to pick as they tend to only come once the fruit is soft and golden.  So I grabbed a bowl (a couple actually) and collected my bounty.


About 8 kilograms all up (not all pictured) which is not bad at all and meant I was going to need to do something with them.  I googled a few ideas and decided on chutney.  Sugar free of course.  I did a 1kg batch to see how it went and was pretty please with the result.  I amended the recipe a little for the next batch of 3kg and it was even better. So here’s how it went then with amounts for a 3kg batch…

First halve 3kg apricots and give them a good wash…DSC_0012

Then toast and grind 5 teaspoons of coriander and 3 teaspoons of cumin.  Add 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, 3 teaspoons of seas salt, 3 teaspoons of yellow mustard seeds, a heaped teaspoon of chilli powder and a piece of cassia bark (cinnamon is fine also)DSC_0022

Dice up 3 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 5-7 cm of ginger, 2 zucchini’s and a capsicumDSC_0024

Lastly add 3 cups of palm vinegar and about 1 cup of honeyDSC_0026

Put everything into a large pan and simmer for about an hour until the mixture is syrupy.  Allow to cool and put into sterilised jars, which then go into a water bath for at least 30mins (I use a tea towel in between to prevent breakages)DSC_0029

The finished product should last the whole year in the pantry but refrigerate after opening. Perfect with Indian meals but also great with a simple steak.DSC_0028

How does your weekly shop look?

7 07 2012

Today I’m issuing a challenge and one that might be harder than you think. My challenge is this. Next time you do your weekly (or fortnightly or monthly) shop, instead of putting it all away, lay it out on the bench and take a picture. Now ask yourself something. Are you happy with what it looks like?

Are you happy with how your weekly shop looks?

This is really meant to be a rhetorical challenge and it’s about having a good hard look at what you buy each week.  However, if you’re either proud of where you’re at now, or courageous enough to perhaps post a “before” photo, why not put in on Facebook?  Even better, post it to my Olliemoves page.

You see every day we make choices about what we eat, what we do and how we take care of ourselves, but because they are small decisions we often don’t realise how they add up.  My idea of laying out a weeks, or months food intake out to see is not new, it’s been done on countless diet/weight loss based reality TV shows, but it is still incredibly powerful.

Before going Paleo I used to shop at the supermarket each week and regularly got depressed by aisle after aisle of processed crap that resembles food, as well as what people rolled up to the register with.  Especially the ones with kids.  I mean it’s one thing to feed yourself nothing but “food like products”, but to raise children on that crap?  I’m tempted to take a tangent here and go on a rant about child abuse, but I won’t, cause that’s not the point of this post.  So for at least a couple of years now my weekly shop has been at the fresh food markets.   One of the things I love about the markets is that when you look around and notice what everyone else has in there trolley, they tend to have pretty healthy loads.  I guess cause there’s not much alternative but also cause they are there for the same reason, to get real food.

So the above picture is what my weekly shop looked like today.  It’s not everything I’ll consume this week because I have a pantry full of spices and a garden full of herbs and veggies, but one thing worth noting is the lack of the need for “label” reading.  I tend to work on the basis that if I need to read the label to see if something is healthy or not, it’s not really food anymore!

For the record my shop includes includes; Extra virgin olive oil, coconut water, coconut milk, fennel, pumpkin, royal gala apples, oranges, a lemon, onions, garlic, Kimchi, grape tomatoes, broccoli, parsnips, cauliflower, bok choy, eggplant, a couple of dozen eggs, red capsicum, green capsicum, carrots, bananas, pears, lebanese cucumber, zucchini, mandarins, leek, ginger, orange sweet potato, white sweet potato, kale, mushrooms, Pork belly, butter, lambs liver and bacon.